Our speaker for the April themed month, "The Future," was Catherine Rohr, Founder and CEO of Defy Ventures. (defyventures)

About Catherine Rohr:

Defy Ventures is a New York City-based nonprofit that equips former drug dealers and gang leaders to leverage their natural talent, street smarts, charisma and drive to launch legal and profitable start-up businesses. Defy achieves its mission by partnering with senior business executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and other influential leaders to provide life transforming opportunities for America’s biggest underdogs. Defy puts its student entrepreneurs to the test with 12 months of hands-on, no-bull, MBA-like training, mentoring, character development, business incubation and financing. Defy’s signature program engages volunteer business executives as judges in a series of business plan competitions that award $150,000 in seed capital to winning ventures.

Catherine Rohr started Defy two years ago after founding and leading the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, a nonprofit organization that serves men throughout the Texas prison system. Since its founding, Defy has raised $2 million and attracted more than 500 executives who contributed 5,000+ volunteer hours and equipped student entrepreneurs to launch 21 start-ups.

In her six-year career in private equity and venture capital, Catherine sourced $32 million in investments and worked with thousands of entrepreneurs. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration from University of California, Berkeley. A three-time marathon runner, former rugby player, and California State Wrestling Champion, Catherine resides in New York City and still enjoys training and competing in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and submission grappling in her spare time.

The event was generously hosted by Galapagos Art Space (galapagosartspace.com) in DUMBO, Brooklyn.


CreativeMornings is a monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types. Each event is free of charge, and includes a 20 minute talk, plus coffee! You can join us in numerous cities around the world. (creativemornings.com)


A big thank you to Ben Hallman (hallmanproductions.com) for filming and editing.

You can see photos of the event over on Flickr (flickr.com/photos/creativemornings/sets/72157633358138784/) Thanks to Cheyenne Mojica (cheyennemojica.com) for shooting the event.

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